- - Can the Canadian model offer a solution for southern Thailand?
- - Running out of ideas in the South
- Southern militants have scant desire to negotiate
- Thailand should just accept that South is different
- Malaysian PM's visit to show up lack of deep South action
- Najib may have some answers to deep South problems
- Still a long battle ahead in the quest for peace in the South
- Too many cooks spoiling the broth
- Seeing things from a different perspective
- Peace in the South demands historical recognition
- New ideas necessary to resolve deep South crisis
- Massacre probe must provide answers
- Money goes to waste in the deep South
- A long way to go before peace is possible in the South
- Patani Malay separatists at a crossroads
- Anupong's remarks may add fuel to the fire in the South
- Military alone cannot solve problems in the deep South
- Anupong's remarks may add fuel to the fire in the South
- Let's not allow mosque attack to derail peace bid
- South policy still lacks understanding
- Hard line lingers on the deep South
- Malays strive to keep alive the spirit of the kris
- Different approach needed in the deep South
- No one wants to live under colonial rule
- When will we really understand the South?
- Abhisit right to put the South on the agenda
- Can the Democrats stand up to the Army tactics in the South
- How long can we ignore the deep South?
- No time for complacency in the South
- The South is a long way from Bangkok
- Unofficial talks may fan the flames of insurgency
- Is Chavalit fostering false hope in the deep South?
- Analysis :Ceasefire in south is just too good to be true
- Pornthip means well, but she misunderstands the south
- Army's abuses come home to roost in South
- Deep south insurgency puts strain on thai-malay relations
- In the South, the media, too, must think outside the box
- Lessons from the southern insurgency not learned
- Insurgents make it clear there is no neutral ground
- BANGKOKIAN: Odd silence on south
- Political rumblings in the deep South
- No progress in checking unrest
- Hope for the southern poor
- Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea
- 'Pushing people towards the insurgents'
- Analysis :Premier has wasted opportunity in South
- Crisis in south rooted in ethnic Malay identity
- Bombs 'like those in Bangkok'
- Schools aim to rise from ashes
- Harsh realities mar peace efforts in South
- Scars of Krue Se bloodbath refuse to go away
- Off-the-wall comments, suggestions have not helped
- Anti-terror effort needs closer cooperation: Nitya
- Old separatists still dream of a free patani
- Mahathir: Talk with exiled South leaders
- Military to enforce ban on public gatherings
- Rewards dropped for the arrest of militants - South to get 3,000 more troops after violence escalates
- Pulo alleges targeted killings
- 'Talks vital to restore peace in the South'
- No end in sight to violence in south - PREMIER'S FIRST BORDER TOUR: Surayud apologises for govt's abuses in South
- Government reaches out to the South
- The long road to peace in the deep South
- Just a local affair or prelude to terrorism?
- Insurgency 'has crossed a new threshold'
- South an elusive 'spider's web' for generals
- Southeast Asia the second front of global terror?
- Sonthi makes a needed overture in the South
- Southern blasts clear way for army plans
- Soldier killed by bomb in Narathiwat
- Volunteer shot dead in South
- Force alone won't win battle with insurgents
- Six dead in series of bombings, shootings in Yala, Narathiwat
- South militants number 3,000
- Army chief 'welcome in restive South'
- Push for Sondhi to boost his role
- Bombs, bullets kill 3 on weekend
- Bombings spark a scramble for excuses
- Don't make us your scapegoat: Malaysia
- Lull ends in savage wave of 44 blasts
- Admin body urged for South
- What chance of reconciliation in the South?
- More arrests in teachers' assault case
- Troubled school gets 20 teachers
- Letter from KUCHING REUPAH
- South militancy has been years in making
- More held over brutal beating of 2 teachers
- Army 'must respond quicker'
- 3 arrests over hostage taking
- Hopelessly adrift in the stormy south
- HOSTAGE TAKING: Army's image takes beating
- Juling's vision of peace
- RESTIVE SOUTH: 100 schools to shut for a week


Published on April 29, 2004 - Bodies of more than 100 Muslim militants, most of them teenagers, littered the roads and a revered mosque yesterday, following clashes across the deep South between insurgents and security forces.

The violence shattered Thai-land's reputation as a land of peace and tolerance.

The militants, mostly armed with machetes and only a few carrying assault rifles, battled policemen and soldiers in Pattani, Yala and Songkhla in one of the bloodiest days in modern Thai history. Authorities said 107 rebels were killed and 17 were arrested. Five security officials were killed.

The insurgents, many of them apparently suicidal, launched simultaneous pre-dawn raids on 10 police outposts and a police station in a military-style operation.

"Many had no more than a machete in their hands. It was like a death wish. This is scary," said one intelligence officer, adding that there is real concern that further attacks could be suicide missions.

Eyewitnesses said some attackers were screaming religious slogans, proclaiming "We are ready to die for God!" as they stormed outposts.

Prime Minister Thaksin Shina-watra was quick to declare victory yesterday, using the death count as a benchmark for success and praised the security forces for prompt and deadly response.

But the situation in the South remains tense and fragile and fears grew of far-reaching repercussions. The National Intelligence Agency warned young Muslims might regroup and launch new attacks.

Yet Thaksin played down the political aspect, saying many of the dead were drug-addict teenagers. "There is nothing to be afraid of. These are drug addicts," he said.

But Defence Minister Chettha Thanajaro said the attacks were carried out by Muslim separatists, and they may have received assistance from abroad. He described the attackers as "well trained" and added that worse is yet to come.

Witnesses said more than 30 insurgents took up positions at the break of dawn in the historic Krue Se Mosque on the outskirts of Pattani where they used the mosque's loud speaker to urge all Muslims in the area to take up arms against security forces and "fight to the death".

The group was decimated by midday when Thai commandos fired several rounds of a vehicle-mounted recoilless gun before storming the place, killing all the insurgents.

According to a local official, Wae-umar Wae-Daloh, the kamnan of Tanyongloh, where the mosque stands, 32 insurgents attacked a nearby police outpost at dawn before running to the mosque to position themselves for a showdown with a back-up unit. "It seemed that they were prepared to die, and they were going to fight to the death with weapons they had," he said.

Internal Security Operation Command's deputy commander Pallop Pinmanee said he gave the order to attack because he was afraid that as the crowd got bigger, the situation would pose an even greater security risk. "I had no choice. I was afraid that as time passed the crowd would be sympathetic to the insurgents, to the point of trying to rescue them," he said.

Local residents echoed Wae-umar's comment, saying the bloodbath raised more questions than answers.

They were disturbed by the high body count of suspected insurgents over a relatively short period.

"I am really concerned that the problems in the South will escalate further," said Abdul Rosue Aree, deputy chairman of the Islamic Council in Narathiwat.

"The incident will definitely affect Muslim people. They will have bad feelings towards authorities and the turmoil will continue and not be resolved," he claimed.

The high casualties also sparked suspicion that killings may have been carried out extra-judicially and not always out of self-defence.

The southern provinces are predominantly Muslim of ethnic Malay stock.

A separatist movement had been waged for decades but it fizzled out in the mid-1980s after many laid down their arms when the state offered them amnesty.

However, there had been many complaints recently about discrimination and police brutality. Some also claim they have been treated like second-class citizens.

Prime Minister Thaksin said yesterday's attackers were from the same group that stormed an Army camp in Narathiwat on January 4.

Relatives of the dead militants would be questioned, he said, adding that he would make a trip South in the coming days.

Army chief General Chaisit Shinawatra said authorities were tipped off about the attacks and had been on high alert.

The information came from a group of 10 teenagers arrested last Thursday in connection with the torching of 13 public schools in the region, he said.

Thaksin and Chaisit were granted an audience with HM the King late last night to update His Majesty about the situation in the South.

Meanwhile, shots were fired at one police outpost late last night, while a public rest-stop was torched in what appeared to be acts of revenge after the killings.

© 2005 Nation Multimedia Group
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